My Imaginary Friend

I started to talk to myself around sixth grade due to puberty’s anxiety disorder. I think it was just a phase. It would pass soon.

It didn’t.

As time passes, I self-talk even more frequently, almost all the time. If I can’t talk out loud, I mumble, and if I can’t mumble, I will have to keep my thoughts in my head, but I can’t contain all the frustration and worry in my head ! That’s why I talked out loud in the first place !

Self-talking relaxes me. Consoles me. Cheers me up. Befriends me. I feel more confident knowing there is something/someone beside me, watching over me, follow me every step I go, keep track on my progress, experience life with me. Last year, I finally had the courage to name “it”. I named him Brad, my imaginary friend.

Brad goes wherever I go, see whatever I see, feel whatever I feel, but his thoughts sometimes contradict mine and that what make him so special to me. He would express himself every time we run into something. For example, we feel hungry and it is two hours until lunchtime. He suggests I eat something light like some apples or bananas and wait until exact lunchtime. I have choices between listening to him, or do what I want, which is eat right away. Because we always have different opinions about every matter. It makes my life so much fun and exciting.

Brad is very strong-willed, very determined. If my roommate talks on the phone too loud, Brad suggests I told her to tone down her voice or get out of the room so as to Brad and I could study. I, on the other hand, would rather get out of the room myself and sit in the toilet or the hall way, or in the closet, try to concentrate on my work while waiting for the noise to finally cease. After sitting outside for such long time, freezing to death, I had to admit to be at fault, apologized to Brad and returned to the room and told my roommate to speak less aggressively. Brad is usually the more rational.

However, Brad is not always right. He makes mistake too. For example, when I had problems with my visa. I had to attend school later than my friends in America. Brad said I would eventually close the gap by the time I started my college life. His reason was, basically my friends in America are taught by the same method as me, so our syllabus should be the same and our experience would have a lot in common.
He was wrong. After getting into college, although I did find a few similarities among our college lives, my friends have different timetable for midterm, fall break, thanksgiving and so on. By the time, they had to prepare for mid-term, I just went to university for the very first day. Plus, the “college culture” in America is really different from what I am experience now in Praha. Life in there seems to be full of glamorous parties, weed and excessive sex, which I can’t really imagine and relate to. Brad even claims their lives are so much better than ours. The difference gap widened and there was no hope in closing it. We just have to accept that people all carry on living their own lives keep in mind that we are no longer in high school anymore.

I don’t agree with Brad on which life is better. Since we are in different part of the world now, there is basically no world-standardized scoring rubic to assess who is doing better than others. Why can’t we just live for the sake of ourselves ? Aren’t we happy with the way things are right now ? Because Brad and I feel fine until we talked to my friends.

Brad and I watched “The Voices”, a horror psychological movie, by Marjane Satrapi on a weekend evening. Such relatable topic I must say. The main character (played by Ryan Reynolds) has mental illness that requires him to take pills everyday in order to stop seeing visions and hearing voices. “The voices”, indeed, are all in his head, but he embeds them on his cat and his dog.

The dog represents his good will and innocent nature, but it is so weak. The cat, on the other hand, represents his evil soul with brutal orders that manipulate both him and the dog.

It is a graphic horror movie so I won’t get into the details but he did kill some people which he then blames on the cat’s wicked intention enforce upon him.

There was one particular obsessional scene when he gets really mad at the cat’s interference in his private life that he decides to take his mental pills. Waking up after a long dizzy sleep, he is terrified at what he sees around his house. Blood, flesh and all. The smell is unbearable.

The whole apartment is covered in darkness.

The worst is the cat and the dog won’t answer to him anymore. He is all alone now. He can’t stand it. Panicked, he throws all his pills away and goes to bed trying to sleep. As he wakes up the next day, everything is all cheerful and bright as always, and he decides not to ever take the pills again. He would rather live in a happy fantasy than face the horrifying lonely reality.

I still talk to Brad sometimes now, just not as frequent and not to far extent. I learn to control my feelings and anxiety more. Plus, when I’m busy and focused, he doesn’t show up. Nevertheless, when I am down, Brad would definitely the first to console me. He is always there beside me.

I am not crazy, I just want to be happy. When I’m happy, Brad is, too.

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